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Wattpad To Beta-Test a Payment Plan for Writers

3 October 2018

From Publishing Perspectives:

Wattpad officials in Toronto are confirming to Publishing Perspectives on Tuesday (October 2) that the platform is preparing to run a beta payment program in select regions to test how writers can make money on Wattpad through a reader-payment system.

The experimental program—which our contacts stress is short-term—is up in four markets: the company’s home base Canada, as well as the UK, the Philippines, and Mexico. The launch date for the beta project is a week away, October 9.

The Philippines is one of Wattpad’s most successful markets, a country in which the Wattpad Presents television programproduced with Manila TV5 was something of a precursor to the rapidly accelerating success that the Wattpad Studios division is having in platform-to-screen development.

The upcoming invitation-only beta is limited at present to some 50 current Wattpad writers, who were selected for the test to contribute to the program.

The stories these writers produce for the beta will be available only in the four participating regions and only for purchase. There will be no effects on normal Wattpad operations otherwise.

. . . .

Once the beta has launched next week, users can use the Wattpad app to purchase their coins in various sized batches. Based on the graphics on the explanatory page about buying coins for the Wattpad Next program, coins may come in batches of nine for $0.99, batches of 66 for $2.99, batches of 120 for $4.99, and batches of 230 for $7.99.  It’s likely these prices are in Canadian dollars, since the beta will not be available in the States, and these price may be higher or lower than the actual cost structure once the beta program is activated next week.

. . . .

Many writers who have looked at Wattpad—particularly authors who have some career traction—may find it good news that the company is exploring, even on a limited trial basis, a way that readers might be able to pay their favorite writers.

Long recognized as a fine incubator for young talent, the platform, with its highly attractive 65 million active users monthly, has seemed a leap for those who need to make money from their writing.

The company is explaining the new, limited-time beta is to say that readers have been asking for ways to compensate their favorite writers.

In answer to Publishing Perspectives’ query, a spokesman for Wattpad says, “Helping writers has always been a priority for Wattpad. We’re currently running [this] closed beta program in select markets to explore different ways writers can make money from their work on Wattpad.”

. . . .

“The connection between readers and writers is what makes Wattpad the unique and incredible space we all love,” according to the FAQ messaging. “The stories selected echo this connection, and will help us build the best program to fund writer’s careers, while giving readers access to stories they can only find on Wattpad.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

Books in General

21 Comments to “Wattpad To Beta-Test a Payment Plan for Writers”

  1. WattPad is fascinating because it’s users have, for the most part, walked away from traditional publishing and book purchasing and are creating a whole new literary community of their own on their smartphones.

    Publishers wonder why their sales are flat. Booksellers wonder why their sales are flat (B&N wonders where everyone went.) This is one place their customers have decamped to. Bookstores carry on about how their shops are centers of literary community, but WattPad really is one.

  2. I thought something like half the content on WattPad was FanFic. I can’t imagine they’ll allow that to be monetized.

    • The other half has the serial numbers filed off.
      Think: 50 SHADES.

      Some actually graduate to less derivative and more original material. People who’ve been working for free might welcome some coin headed their way.

      Of course, some might decide that if Wattpad thinks people will pay for their visions, it might be worth looking into going solo.

      • Will readers be willing to pay for something that has been free?

        Will writers that aren’t ‘picked’ pull their works and try elsewhere?

        Will those picked sign or wonder if going more ‘indie’ is better for them?

        I’ll go pop some corn to go with the up and coming drama … 😉

        • It won’t be the same stories.
          Rather it will be new material from familiar names.
          That is why it’s by invitation, to leverage the existing fanbase. And make no mistake, there are good writers and good stories there.

          In a way It’s not too different from what Amazon does with APub, picking out promising Indies to offer tradpub deals.

          • Oh, agreed on all counts.

            The question though is how many of those that have read for free all this time will be willing to pay to read some of them.

            A bit like a toll road they put in between San Antonio to just North of Austin. I haven’t used it yet as it’s a bit out of my way and they charge more than I think it’d save me. (Then there was that bit in the local news about them making extra money by checking the entry/exit times and issuing tickets to speedsters – followed by them whining that no one was now using their nice smooth toll road! 😉 )

            Many a ‘free’ thingy with a lot of viewers has discovered that they were only being watched because they were actually ‘free’. Of course I keep hearing that KU shouldn’t work either, so maybe we can check back in a year and see if they made it happen.

  3. “The upcoming invitation-only beta is limited at present to some 50 current Wattpad writers, who were selected for the test to contribute to the program.

    The stories these writers produce for the beta will be available only in the four participating regions and only for purchase. There will be no effects on normal Wattpad operations otherwise.”

    So, almost agents and test publishers. It should be interesting to see what the contracts look like. 😉

  4. …to fund writer’s careers, while giving readers access to stories they can only find on Wattpad.”

    Is this KU, take two?
    I don’t know how many authors would exclusively make their paid stories only available on wattpad

    • They are currently offering them there for free, which pretty much ensures they *can’t* put them on KDP.

      Think of it as a parallel universe for folks with a different value system. A third path separate from Indie, inc or Tradpub.

      • No I’m saying it’s another version of ku. By saying they are selling unique content, it means they are trying to be another ku

      • What is the 3rd path though? It’s another store, similar to amazon, where i can sell indie stories.

        I’m not referring to wattpad – as it’s always been – where you just look to find free readers (or maybe YA readers because they can’t afford to buy books). I’m speaking to the specific quote I highlighted above where they say they are going to now sell unique content you can’t find elsewhere

        • See reply below.
          Website weirdness.

          Short answer: no, its no KU or KDP, either.

          • i know what ku and kdp are. I’m speaking to the fact they are saying they want to sell unique stories which means that you aren’t allowed to sell them anywhere else. Only at their storefront
            Which is ku
            If you force me to only sell my stories on your storefront, in that way requiring exclusivity, than in that way you are trying to be ku, take two
            Does that help?

  5. A cogent article about Wattpad, albeit 6 years old…

    http://once-and-future.com/2012/11/wattpad-and-the-new-reader/

    (emphasis mine)

    Two things you have to understand: an enormous amount of what is on Wattpad is terrible. I mean, it’s really, very bad. The average age of the Wattpad user is 20 – no small number of the stories are written by the 14-16 year old bracket. But secondly, many Wattpad users don’t seem to care. Things you might consider to be fundamental to a novel like spelling, grammar and, oh, I don’t know, an ending are routinely disregarded on Wattpad. Some of the hottest, most-viewed titles on the page barely qualify as amateur. Do the readers care? Apparently not. There are millions of users reading millions of stories a dozen at a time and absolutely nothing offered by a traditional publisher matters to them. The editing? Design? Advertising? All irrelevant. The traditional publisher has absolutely no place in the reading lives of these users.

    Well, now they can get them for free. […] this is the money that traditional publishers are hemorrhaging. The hand wringing – I get it now. That’s a lot of money. And how much of that money was underwriting the publication of the much-less lucrative literary fiction?

    • Yup, and this is the generation that just doesn’t read (or at least isn’t reading what trad-pub is selling/tracking! 😉 )

    • Richard Hershberger

      @DaveMich That is a fascinating article. Thank you for the link. I found particularly interesting this part:

      “Janice Radway’s 1984 ethnography of romance readers, Reading the Romance, reported that something like 88% of her romance readers were reading between 1-9 romance novels per week. That’s 50-450 per year.”

      This is the market that has shifted from traditional publishing, in its most broad-audience commercial form, to platforms such as Wattpad or KU. I don’t think traditional publishers are hemorrhaging anymore. That market has left them and isn’t coming back. What remains is a different audience with different needs. It is possible that something new will show up that fills those needs better than traditional publishing, but the current indie publishing model isn’t it.

  6. How much will Wattpad skim?

    • Will there ‘be’ anything for them to skim? 😛

      And will they try to get readers to point out editing errors to save on paying editors?

  7. KU isn’t a store, though. That would be KDP.
    KU is a subscription library.
    (Like there used to be in the pre-Carnegie 19th Century.)

    And it is an alternative to both tradpub, which is about publishers controlling the copyright and the do-it-yourself Indie world. It’s not the exclusivity that distinguishes it but rather who controls distribution: traditional publishers, the author, or a middleman that is neither.

    This is not KU nor is it KDP, either, because BOTH are open to all comers, not by invitation.

    It is somewhat similar to Nook press but Nook press is for print.

    It is its own creature.

  8. It seems more like the Chinese model used at Qidian and other sites, except in beta form.

    Authors write stories for free, the company picks popular authors to get contracts and after a certain number of chapters the stories go behind paywalls.

  9. We are back to the age when storytelling cost nothing: a storyteller speaking to whoever would listen. The listeners did things, like offering food or doing the storytellers chores, to keep the good storytellers talking.

    Today, you can publish and you can read without paying anyone anything on the network. Traditional economics, monetizing, buying, and selling are not necessary. But audiences still have to find the good storytellers and keep them talking instead of going off to earn a living. What a time to live!

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